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Wimbledon champ gives some tips

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The ball was in their court. Bronx students had a chance to learn tennis from a pro during the experience of a lifetime.

Following her recent victory, Serena Williams, the 2009 Wimbledon Champion, paid a visit to Randall’s Island on Friday, July 10.

Williams participated in a tennis clinic for children of the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation programs and lead a World TeamTennis match between NY Sportimes and the Washington Kastles.

“It’s was great. Obviously Serena just won Wimbledon and I think she’s one of the greatest players in world,” said Claude Okin, managing partner of NY Sportimes. “These are under resourced kids getting a taste for tennis and also getting a chance to meet someone who might inspire them.”

Approximately 120 children from throughout the Bronx in Casita Maria, an organization aimed at providing enrichment and recreational activities for children, got a chance to work with the star athlete and participate in a question and answer session.

“I asked her how long she has been playing tennis. I’ve only played at Randall’s Island and that’s it,” said Michelle Lopez, a 10-year-old student of P.S. 304. “Tennis wasn’t hard at all I think, it was easy. At times I was hitting the ball and it would go over the gate and it was funny.”

The clinic was held on the brand new Sportimes courts, a $16 million project that added a 20-court tennis center to Randall’s Island with a 2,000 seat outdoor stadium.

As an additional bonus, all children were given a brand new tennis racket courtesy of NY Sportimes, the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation and Advanta, helping children bring the sport home and encourage an active lifestyle.

“We know tennis can be a tremendous character builder and open lots of doors and it of course can take you all over the world,” said Okin. “We brought tennis into the lives of many many kids.”

An autograph session was held for her fans.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group